Gdy debiutowała w latach 30-tych, Tatra T87 wyglądała jak pojazd z innej planety. Projekt Hansa Ledwinki wyróżniał się aerodynamicznym kształtem, pozwalającym zmniejszyć opory aerodynamiczne i uzyskać ponadprzeciętne osiągi. Między 1936 a 1950 rokiem zbudowano ich nieco ponad 3000 egzemplarzy, co dla tak luksusowego samochodu było świetnym wynikiem. Dziś jest to najbardziej poszukiwany i wartościowy samochód byłego Bloku Wschodniego. Prezentowany egzemplarz jest jednym z ostatnich wyprodukowanych. Odrestaurowany w latach 90-tych wciąż zachwyca swoim wyglądem i gładką pracą chłodzonego powietrzem silnika V8. Ten niezwykły samochód sprzedany został za ok. 540 tys. PLN, uwzględniając premię domu aukcyjnego.
1950 TATRA T87
US$ 100,000 – 125,000
PLN 390,000 – 490,000
Sold for US$ 137,500 (PLN 540,692) inc. premium
GREENWICH CONCOURS D’ELEGANCE AUCTION
5 Jun 2016, starting at 12:00 EDT
1950 TATRA T87
Chassis no. 79233
Engine no. 223·338
2,970cc SOHC Air-Cooled Magnesium Alloy V-8 Engine
Single Downdraft Carburetor
75bhp at 3,500rpm
Four-Speed Manual Transmission
Independent Front and Swing-Axle Rear Suspension
Four-Wheel Hydraulic Drum Brakes
*In the present ownership since 2000
*Offered from a Private Collection
*Iconic Ledwinka design
THE T87 SEDAN
The name of Tatra is forever linked with that of Hans Ledwinka, one of the most original engineers ever to turn his attention to automobile design. Tatra’s chief engineer, Ledwinka began experimenting with the application of low-drag aerodynamics to passenger car design in the early 1930s in collaboration with his colleague Erich Übelacker and Zeppelin aerodynamicist, Paul Jaray.
In 1934 the first of Tatra’s ‘aerodynes’ appeared; this was the T77, the world’s first series-produced car designed with aerodynamic efficiency as the foremost consideration. Tatra’s advertising hailed it as ‘the car of the future’, and when compared with its contemporaries the T77 must have looked like it had come from another planet.
Although the T77 was fast, economical and comfortable, the handling had sometimes come in for criticism. Introduced in 1936, Ledwinka’s response was the T87, which was both shorter and lighter than the T77. Powered by a 3.0-liter V-8, the T87 was good for a top speed of 160km/h (100mph). The model resumed production after WWII and was produced up to 1950, by which time a little over 3,000 had been sold.
One of Europe’s oldest car makers, the Czech firm of Tatra dates back to 1850 and has carried a reputation for technical innovation thanks largely to the fertile mind of talented Austrian engineer Ledwinka. The T87 is one of the most advanced cars of the pre-war period and was well ahead of its time, combining streamlining with a radical layout that heavily influenced Dr. Ferdinand Porsche’s design of the Volkswagen Beetle. In fact, the similarities were so blatant that Tatra subsequently sued the German company for infringing 11 different patents. The aerodynamic exterior, incorporating a ‘cyclops’ third headlamp, rear fin and full unibody construction with belly pan, allowed the T87 to cruise the new highways of Europe at speeds approaching 100mph.
Beneath the stylish coachwork, the Tatra was powered by a rear-mounted 2.9-liter magnesium alloy, air-cooled overhead-cam V-8 producing 85 horsepower. Suspension was fully independent, with hydraulic brakes. The luxurious Tatra was an expensive car when new but did sell in relatively impressive numbers, with just over 3,000 built between 1936 and 1950. Very few Tatras have ever made it to the United States and there are an estimated ten T87s in the country today – one example can be found in Jay Leno’s suitably eclectic Big Dog Garage, and one graces the foyer of Peter Mullin’s spectacular museum (the only non-French marque exhibited there). Other noted owners have included Ernst Heinkel, Felix Wankel, Erwin Rommel, John Steinbeck, King Farouk of Egypt and Sir Norman Foster.
The Motorcar Offered
A popular favorite among Eastern Bloc Communist leaders who were a bit more “equal” than the rest of the proletariat, this T87 was purchased by the penultimate owner from a factory manager in Czechoslovakia in original condition and restored there before being trailered to the UK around the turn of the 21st century. Found in London by the current owner, he acquired the innovative sedan in August of 2000 and brought it stateside in October of the same year.
The late 1990s Czech restoration has held up well and been augmented by regular maintenance but seldom use for the past 16 years. In 2010 the Tatra was sent to a Massachusetts-based T87 specialist for minor mechanical adjustments and refurbishment of the gas tank and gas gauge. The work completed is documented in a DVD that accompanies the vehicle.
Save for infrequent drives, the Tatra has only been shown once at the Bear Mountain, New York “Cruise Night” in the summer of 2015—but didn’t disappoint with a Best in Class Award. When not motoring through the Hudson Valley, it has remained in careful, garaged comfort.
When viewed by the cataloger, the Tatra carried plenty of presence and elegance with its lovely, rich, royal blue paint over ivory trim. The car started quickly and idled smoothly—a testament to the attention paid to its mechanicals. Accompanied today by a brief history binder, DVD of the work completed in 2010, a copy of its Czech registration, a copy of the owner’s handbook—in English, it should be noted, and import paperwork from its fall of 2000 trip across the Atlantic, this is sure to delight.
Unquestionably one of the truly iconic and most influential automobile designs of all time, this is a rare opportunity to acquire a T87.